Nurses who got their licenses before the age of computers will tell you “back in their day” you took a paper exam. Today, however, the NCLEX exam is a computer adaptive test that gives you anywhere from 75 to 265 questions. And being able to pass NCLEX in 75 questions is an added feather in your nurse’s cap. I recently took NCLEX and have now become a member of that exclusive 75 club. Here are some of my tips to help you pass NCLEX in 75 questions like I did.
Review but don’t study
In my nursing school, we were encouraged to take an NCLEX review class even before we graduated. Review classes give you a general overview of your nursing education as well as tips on what types of questions to expect on various topics. But don’t reread all your nursing school notes. You don’t need that much information to pass NCLEX in 75 questions. NCLEX is general knowledge. If you don’t like review classes or want to use something in conjunction with these classes, pick up an NCLEX prep book. I used Saunders (5th ed) and Lippincott (4th ed) and swear by them.
Do lots of questions every day….all subjects!
Congratulations, you graduated nursing school. Now test yourself to see what you remember. Odds are you retained quite a bit of knowledge. The more questions you practice, the more you begin to jog your memory on subjects you may not have been that strong in. In addition, you can also see how long it takes you to answer 75 or more questions. And make sure you do comprehensive practice tests. You need to train your brain to jump from subject to subject every other minute. I did a minimum 75-100 questions every day in the three weeks before I took NCLEX.
Don’t ask your friends what questions they got
Remember, NCLEX is a computer adaptive test. This means it will adapt to how YOU are answering questions and in what categories you are scoring well or poorly in. One of my classmates got 6 questions on herbal remedies. I didn’t get any, but I did get a lot of psych and liver disease questions. Besides, telling your friends what questions you got on NCLEX is unethical.
Know your priorities
NCLEX wants to see if you can think critically and not just memorize information. That’s why they love questions that ask “Which client do you see first?” This is a priority question. Will you be able to recognize which patient is most critical or unstable? Here’s a great hint I picked up in one review: which patient has something that could kill him? Sounds harsh, but nurses are in the business of saving lives. Remembering this hint helped me answer at least 2 questions. And key words like first, best, andnext are bold faced so they stand out.
Practice your SATA
SATA or select all that apply are part of the new alternative questions that are popping up on NCLEX exams. I myself had over 8 questions in this format. Remember, SATA is all or nothing. You don’t get credit for a partially correct answer. If you want to pass NCLEX in 75 questions, make sure you practice some SATAs cause they will be there!
The odds are with you
According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), most US educated candidates pass NCLEX on the first try. The NCSBN are the ones who write the NCLEX exams. So just breath a little easier knowing that at least odds of passing are in your favor!
National Council of State Boards of Nursing website, NCLEX Examinations